Genoa and Napoli supporters have a long-lasting friendship, and a twinning whose fascinating history is deep-rooted in events where football merge with historical circumstances that little have to do with sports. In the summer of 1973, the area around Mount Vesuvius is plagued by a terrible breakout of cholera. Among its consequences, surely one of the less tragic is that no team wants to play in Napoli for fear of being contaminated.
On September 16, Genoa are scheduled to play at the San Paolo Stadium for a Coppa Italia match. But the Grifoni refuse to go, and are consequently sanctioned with 0-2 loss by forfeit. However, just a few days later, a telegram is sent to the Partenopei headquarters: Genoa invites them to play at Marassi Stadium for a friendly match, whose revenue will be devolved to Napoli as a compensation. The offer is accepted, and that quickly contributes to restore good relationships between the two clubs.
Nine years later, Genoa step foot on the San Paolo ground for their last season match, and are in desperate need of at least one point to avoid relegation. Napoli, on the other hand, have nothing more to ask to their campionato. After just three minutes, striker Massimo Briaschi beats keeper Luciano Castellini with a header from a corner kick action.
Shortly after the beginning of the second half, however, the home club have a sudden reaction, and manage the turn the tables within just six minutes – with goals by Antonio Criscimanni and Gaetano Musella. The numerous supporters who came down from Genoa are shocked.
But when there are only ten minutes left, Genoa’s coach Luigi Simoni sends in defender Mario Faccenda. A good choice, as he will be exactly the one who scores the final equaliser in the 85th minute, he who was born in the island of Ischia, near Napoli…
It all happens when goalkeeper Castellini, while trying to return the ball with his hands, clumsily sends it past his own end line, delivering a corner kick to the Rossoblu. An awkward behavior that will indeed feed some suspicions. On the subsequent corner, Roberto Russo hits the ball with his head, and sends it towards Castellini’s right post, where Faccenda is ready to tap it in with an acrobatic leap.
On the stands, the Rossoblu supporters can therefore start celebrating the permanence in the top division of the Grifone, together with the Neapolitans. And since that day, fans from both club ideally continue to celebrate together, every time Genoa and Napoli meet in Serie A.
May 16, 1982 – Serie A 1981-82 Round 30
SCORERS: 3’ Briaschi (G), 56’ Criscimanni (N), 62’ Musella (N), 85’ Faccenda (G)
|NAPOLI: Castellini, Bruscolotti, Marino, Guidetti (68’ Iacobelli), Krol, Ferrario, Musella, Benedetti (46’ Maniero), Pellegrini, Criscimanni, Palanca (Ceriello, Amodio, Puzone) Coach: Marchesi|
|GENOA: Martina, Gorin (79’ Faccenda), Testoni, Corti, Gentile, Romano, Boito, Manfrin, Russo, Iachini, Briaschi (Favaro, Capezzuoli, Fiordisaggio, Sala) Coach: Simoni|
REFEREE: Mr. Agnolin from Bassano del Grappa
Translated by Matteo Carnevale